Art Galleries Schubert  




Abbey McCulloch

The Sting

Official Opening Friday 18 July 2008   6 - 8pm



“Implying something covert and that which is intended to hurt... " THE STING titles Abbey McCulloch’s July exhibition with Schubert Contemporary.

In an innovative and exciting development THE STING presents as a visual continuum: a series of 29 paintings where each piece links pictorially and narratively into the next. 


The initial inspiration for the works grew from the restless imaginings of a sleep-deprived  night. Lying in bed, captive to the strident sounds of women arguing somewhere in her street, Abbey gave thought to the female psyche and its secret, primal chasms - those raw and brutal places where masks have been abandoned:


 “As their obscenities filled the the early hours of the morning, I felt angry and embarrassed. I didn’t want to salute them with this work, but I wanted to harness something unsettling about the whole experience. I usually see women in the role of enabler and comforter, but I also see vanity, and a hint of something malevolent. With this show, I wanted to portray women turning on themselves and each other. I visualised a streaming dialogue of relationships set out in multiple canvasses like a tapestry. An investigation into surface and facade, I am thinking of everything maniacal that a relationship can contain and the processes undertaken to disguise it.”


Organised in a colour spectrum sequence with heated reds, zinging yellows and shadowed ochres flowing into luminously acrid greens and thence on to a more temperate blue palette, the exhibition is a tantalising spectacle. The polyptych format stimulates a sense of momentum, encouraging viewer participation. We find ourselves visually assessing personal points of entry and departure in the unfolding narrative. 


In preparing for a new body of work Abbey often ‘farms’ tabloid imagery: “It’s about an ongoing fascination with the collective desire of watching... of wanting someone else’s life... a monitoring of the glitch between fantasy and reality.”  The multitude of pouts and poses facilitate the grounding of her ideas: “I work in a fairly haphazard manner where a sketch is often recreated in charcoal directly onto the canvas. The translation can go either way... I try to produce paintings that echo the spontaneity of a sketch.” 


THE STING is not a work to be glanced at and then forgotten - there are too many questions to be answered - the visual and emotional impact is too powerful!  Abbey McCulloch and this exhibition are profiled in the 2008 Winter edition of the Australian Art Collector.



Based on the Gold Coast, Abbey McCulloch has a Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting) degree from the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane and has recently completed a Research Masters degree. She was a finalist in the Metro 5 Emerging Art Prize 2008, the Archibald Portrait Prize 2007, the Prometheus Art Prize 2007, the Redlands Art Prize 2006 and Mosman Art Prize 2004. Given the wide, subjective appeal of her paintings and multiple, enormously successful solo shows in Melbourne, Sydney, Darwin, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, it is little wonder that her work is regularly featured in such glossy magazines as Harper’s Bazaar, Black and White, Frankie, Oyster and Australian Vogue.              

Jacqueline Houghton



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